Just a couple of months ago it appeared as if the Minnesota Vikings would be lucky if one of the top three quarterbacks fell to them at No. 8 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. Now, however, after the Scouting Combine and a handful of pro days, it appears as if top quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater will be available when the Vikings are on the clock.
Bridgewater is the most NFL-ready quarterback in the draft, and it isn’t even up for debate. Potential, however, is what has skyrocketed Blake Bortles to the front of the pack while Johnny Manziel continues to elicit mixed reviews because of his unique playing style.
Bridgewater decided not to throw at the combine, and then likely regretted it when his pro day was described as below average to average. Bridgewater took off his throwing glove for the pro day, which has raised questions of a conspiracy, but the bottom line is Bridgewater’s draft stock has taken a hit and the Vikings may be in luck at No. 8.
Bridgewater has the highest football IQ of any quarterback prospect, and while playing at Louisville he was making reads at the line and calling his own audibles and adjustments just like a mini version of Peyton Manning. Bridgewater doesn’t have any outstanding physical tools, but he does all the little things right like having consistent mechanics and a tendency to look off safeties when needed.
He hasn’t been hit with the game manager tag just yet, but that’s exactly what the skinny 6-foot-3 passer is. Bridgewater rarely makes mistakes – just four interceptions this past season – and makes good decisions which leads to low interception numbers and a high completion percentage.
Quarterbacks have been on the move this free agency, with the Houston Texans getting a hold of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Oakland Raiders being rumored to be in the market for Matt Schaub. The Vikings did re-sign Matt Cassel to a two-year deal, but if Bridgewater is available the Vikings would be hard pressed not to pull the trigger on the draft’s best signal caller.
With the Texans and Raiders set at quarterback, that leaves just the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns as the teams selecting before the Vikings who are still in need of a franchise QB. Bortles’ upside will make him an early pick, which gives way to the possibility of Manziel or Bridgewater falling to No. 8.
There is still plenty of time for player movement before the May 8 draft, but as of now it appears as if the Vikings are in luck and will have the opportunity to select Bridgewater at No. 8 overall.